Pffft, Debates. This Is a Way Better Measure of Qualification.


My phone rang 17 times today.

Two of them were legit. The other 15 were political calls. Many of them robo-calls, a few of them deep-in-the-trenches volunteers trying to sway me with their zeal.

One of the hazards of signing on to the no-call list because of political calls. I fall off the list just in time for a new batch.

The mailbox was just as bad. I hadn’t checked the mail since Thursday, so it had stacked up. 41 pieces, if you include the ad flyer. An even 40 if you assume correctly that that item went directly into the recycle bin. 3 bills, a renewal for a magazine subscription and 2 insurance solicitation letters.

Everything else was political. 34 glossies, ranging from postcard sized, up.

They all joined the ad flyer in my recycle bin. And as I let them fly in, I had an epiphany. This is how they can determine my vote.

Next year we should — all of us — keep them. Don’t delete the calls, stack the flyers in a corner. And the week before the election we should have a mandatory debate.

All runners for all office seats gather at a single venue. As the debate opening buzzer sounds, their calls should begin playing – a cacophony of Me! Me! Me! sounding through the auditorium.

And then the flyers rain down, all of them, to coat the floor with a several thousand dollar carpet of waste and resource abuse.

Then the debate moderator poses the single challenge.

Who can organize the fastest, cheapest, most efficient way of cleaning up the trash.

Each candidate shouts their solution. They have to shout to be heard over the clamoring of themselves.

They vote amongst themselves on the best solution. Can they compromise? Can they sway the opposing parties? These are qualities of a good leader.

Then they have to implement it. They have to delegate the tasks in a fair and thoughtful way, and clean the mess, all the while shouting out their directives and solutions over the rising din of their own voices.

Then they are subject to a Q&A and critique by the public. What do they feel they could’ve done better? What do we think they could have improved.

That’s it. That’s my plan.

Because anything is better than this. Anything makes more sense than shelling out countless dollars on cluttering up my mailbox and making my trigger finger accidentally delete my brother’s message.

Because – and this is a serious question – have any one of you, ever, in the history of your voting life checked a name on the ballot because of a flyer or phone call?

Please, tell me. What was so great about it? Why did it compel you to vote a certain way?

I hope there are successes, somewhere. Otherwise, why is this our standard MO? How did this become our world?

‘Cause it sucks.

We have to be able to do something better than this.

And, um – don’t forget to vote!

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